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Carolina Shores residents hoping for open, transparent government are going to be disappointed.
On May 3, the town board met in closed session to discuss personnel issues. When the board moved into open session, it approved having town attorney Holt Moore send a “personnel letter” to an employee. It did not indicate who the employee was or what action was taken.
A Beacon reporter, who later filed an open records request about town employees, learned assistant town administrator Amanda Chestnut had been fired May 3 following that closed meeting.
According to state law, personnel status changes, like a termination, must be approved in open session.
Hiding behind this letter robbed Carolina Shores’ citizens of direct knowledge of how their town government—the government their tax dollars fund—operates.
Some board members say they went about it the way they did to protect Chesnut, who was not at the meeting and would not have been among the first to know about her firing.
There are plenty of other ways this issue could have been handled and none of those include violating the open meetings law.
Other government agencies successfully manage hiring and firing employees and upholding the law on a regular basis. Why can’t Carolina Shores?
Carolina Shores residents deserve better, especially from a town government we believe has a history of violating open meetings and public records law.
We’d say shame on them, but we’re kind of tired of doing that.
Board members, Mayor Stephen Selby and town administrator Linda Herncane directed questions about the firing to Moore, who could not be reached for comment by press time. They indicated Moore guided them on this decision.
We’ve been thinking for a while the town of Carolina Shores needs a new attorney. This decision further drives the nail into that coffin.
Carolina Shores citizens should demand the town find another attorney, one specifically trained in open meetings and open records laws and one who is willing to make decisions that best benefit the town’s citizens, not a board and administration that wants to do everything behind closed doors.
Stand up, citizens of Carolina Shores. You said you wanted change during last November’s election. Somehow, you’re not getting it.
You deserve more.
Attend your next town meeting. Let your board members know you won’t take another minute of closed-door antics. It’s your money they’re spending to make these decisions. You deserve to know what they are.
The next Carolina Shores meeting will be at 3 p.m. June 10. We hope you’ll be there.
All of you.